Armed Forces of the Philippines

Cirilito Sobejana is new AFP chief

Rambo Talabong

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Cirilito Sobejana is new AFP chief

NEXT MILITARY CHIEF. Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.

File photo from Philippine Army

Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana is among a few soldiers who have been awarded the Medal of Valor, the Philippines' highest military honor for courage
Cirilito Sobejana is new AFP chief

Bemedalled Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana is the next chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), making him the 8th military chief under President Rodrigo Duterte

This was confirmed on Wednesday, January 27, by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“We are confident that General Sobejana will continue to modernize our military and undertake reform initiatives to make the Armed Forces truly professional in its mandate as the protector of the people and the State,” Roque said in a statement. 

Sobejana succeeds General Gilbert Gapay, who took the post in August 2020 after also leading the Army. Like Gapay, Sobejana will be a short-term chief of staff as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on July 31, 2021.

Sobejana takes over one of the weakest military forces in Asia whose commander-in-chief and defense secretary consider a dwindling number of communist insurgents as the biggest threats to the Philippines.

In the West Philippine Sea, China continues to encroach on the sovereign rights of the country despite the pandemic. In Mindanao, attacks by terrorist groups also persist unabated.

Sobejana is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Hinirang Class of 1987, making him the first in his class to rise to the military’s top position.

Sobejana is among a few soldiers who have been awarded the Medal of Valor, the Philippines’ highest military honor for courage. He received the medal for a 1995 heavy gun encounter in Basilan with Abu Sayyaf Group founding leader Abdurajak Janjalani and his men. 

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Army Chief Cirilito Sobejana: A warrior longs for peace

Army Chief Cirilito Sobejana: A warrior longs for peace

Before leading the Army, Sobejana commanded the military’s forces in Western Mindanao, overseeing operations against terror groups. (READ: Battle-scarred Philippine general leads military command fighting terrorists)

He also led the 6th Infantry Division in Central Mindanao in 2018, and the Joint Task Force Sulu in 2017, where he helped prevent Abu Sayyaf fighters from joining the Marawi siege. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.